Is Abortion Legal in California?

At the time of writing (June 2023), abortion is legal in California up until fetal viability, which usually occurs around 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions can be made after viability if the mother’s life or health is in danger[1].

Although California law doesn’t require it, we strongly recommend receiving an ultrasound before an abortion.

Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?

You may be wondering why you’d want an ultrasound, especially if you’re thinking about terminating the pregnancy. The answer is that ultrasounds provide the insight needed to make an informed and empowered decision for an unplanned pregnancy! They determine three key things about your pregnancy: viability, placement, and gestational age.

What is Pregnancy Viability?

A viable pregnancy means that the pregnancy is progressing properly. For example, at about six weeks, the embryo should have a heartbeat[2]. The goal is to rule out a nonviable pregnancy, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy—in either case, abortion isn’t needed.

Learn more about ectopic pregnancy below.

What is Pregnancy Placement?

Pregnancy placement refers to where the pregnancy is located. A fertilized egg can only develop properly inside the uterus. However, sometimes, the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as on an ovary or in a fallopian tube. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy and it cannot continue. It is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. 

What is Gestational Age?

How far along am I? Your ultrasound can answer that question! It’s important to know how far along you are (also known as your gestational age), as you can’t take the abortion pill past 10 weeks of pregnancy[3]. If you’re considering traveling out of state for an abortion, be aware that the surrounding areas may have gestational age limitations as well.

Consider receiving a free ultrasound at Pathway Health Clinic! If your ultrasound determines that you’re too far along to take the abortion pill, our compassionate licensed medical staff will help you explore all of your pregnancy options, so you can make the best choice for your health and future! 

Free Ultrasounds in Vista, CA

No matter where you are in your unplanned pregnancy journey, you aren’t alone! Our licensed medical staff is here to provide the support and vital information needed to make an informed decision.

Don’t wait to get the care you deserve! Make your appointment online today. 

Please be aware that this article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Our limited ultrasound examination is strictly for the purposes of confirming your pregnancy, detecting fetal cardiac activity, and estimating gestational age. We cannot diagnose any medical problems you may be experiencing, pregnancy-related or otherwise. 


  1. Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom. (2019, May 31). 
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, September 3). Slide Show: Fetal Ultrasound. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from 
  3. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2021, December 16). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from